State of Emergency Declared, National Guard Activated Over ‘Major Flooding’ in Kentucky

March 2, 2021 Updated: March 2, 2021

A state of emergency was declared by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear due to heavy rainfall across the commonwealth over the weekend, which triggered floods across the state.

State officials also activated the State Emergency Operations Center to assist with rescue efforts amid major flooding.

“The impact of extremely heavy rainfall and flash flooding across the commonwealth led to numerous emergency rescues and evacuations in counties from west to east,” said Michael Dossett, director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The Kentucky National Guard was also activated, reported KSAZ.

“We’ve experienced flooding in numerous regions. Please be aware of the presence of emergency responders and use caution near the many closed local and state roadways due to high water,” said Dossett to the news outlet.

The Lexington office of the National Weather Service (NWS) wrote that several rivers will see potential major flooding levels.

According to the office, some areas in central Kentucky saw as much as seven inches of rain over three days.

Several Kentucky waterways were over their flood stage, reported the Herald-Leader, citing the NWS.

The Kentucky River was observed over 34 feet and was predicted to reach about 37 feet, while the flood stage is 21 feet for that area. The South Fork of the Kentucky River at Booneville reached 43.5 feet, which is a record high.

The Elkhorn Creek at Peaks Mill reached 11.6 feet and is expected to rise. The flood stage is about 10 feet, according to the NWS.

Beshear declared a state of emergency Monday because of heavy rainfall across the state.

“We are acting swiftly to ensure the safety and security of Kentucky families and to get the needed help to our communities,” he said in a statement. He said 13 counties and cities had declared states of emergency and the Kentucky National Guard was activated and was assisting with high water emergencies.

In West Virginia, flooding hit some areas that were ravaged by power outages from ice storms last month. Floodwaters inundated roads in more than a dozen counties, highways officials said. The National Guard assisted with some evacuations Sunday night in the Dunlow area of Wayne County. And about a dozen people had to be assisted at a church in the Kanawha County community of Cross Lanes on Monday after high water cut off access to a road, WCHS-TV reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.